A new smartphone app has hit the market, and it’s generated a good bit of media buzz. It’s called “Ignore No More,” and it’s been quite the talk among the parents of teenagers – and the hosts of NBC’s Today Show.

The app is designed for parents who’ve grown frustrated with children who won’t return the voicemail messages parents have left for them, refuse to pick-up when they see Mom or Dad’s phone number pop up on their caller ID, or just plain ignore their parents’ text messages. The app allows parents to lock their children’s cell phone, preventing them from calling or texting friends until they call Mom or Dad back.

Is This Really a Good Idea?

While the app has its selling points, we wonder whether its use might end up encouraging teenagers to reach for their cell phones at inappropriate times – like while driving. If a parent happens to text or call when their teen is behind the wheel, it really is best if the young driver ignores it.

Distracted driving – particularly the distraction that results from cell phone use – has become a national concern. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012, an increase of 9 percent from the 387,000 people injured in 2011.

To be clear, those numbers include incidents involving motorists who became distracted while eating, grooming, or trying to operate a GPS navigation system in addition to those whose attention was diverted by using a cell phone.

Of the distractions that can lead to accidents, NHTSA considers text messaging to be one of the most alarming because it requires “visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.” But talking on a cell phone remains an issue. One NHTSA survey of adult motorists found that among those who had been using their cell phone at the time of a crash or near-crash, the majority had been talking. (The study did not survey drivers under the age of 18.)

Phone Can Still Call 911

Supporters of the “Ignore No More” app note that even with the parental lock in effect, the phone can always be used to call 911 in an emergency. As NBC’s website explains, the app allows parents to set up a special list of contacts that their teens may call, and only the contacts on that list would be reachable once the phone is locked. At least one of those contacts would then provide the password to unlock the phone.

Safety First

Still, we think it’s important that young drivers not be punished for ignoring Mom or Dad’s texts and voicemails during those moments when they really need to be focused on driving safely and not reaching for their electronic gadgets. Maybe what we really need is an app that would be capable of locking the phone while driving.

If you’ve been injured in an accident because of a distracted driver, the attorneys at Reed & Reed will make sure you understand the legal process and help you get the compensation you need to recover from the crash. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, throughout east Hillsborough County and the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.